Trying to find a good overdrive sound for my Vox AC30

Discussion in 'Ampage Area' started by theriot21, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. tabaer

    tabaer Electromatic

    I have the normal channel side of my AC15 set up more or less the way Brian May does (guitar -> treble booster dimed -> chorus -> normal channel dimed), and even with the master set comparatively low, it's just about too loud for home use. Glorious sounding, but insanely loud.
    b80_ likes this.
  2. TSims1

    TSims1 Friend of Fred

    Jun 18, 2013
    Try stacking a Tube Screamer[gain full up and tone knob set to taste]with that Rat[which is one of my favorite dirt sounds]. I used to do that to great effect. Nice big thick distortion that still retains focus and doesn't turn to utter flabby mud. It'll be a little noisy[as is expected when gain stacking], but you won't notice when you are playing and chugging big fat thick power chords that you can't cut through with a chainsaw. ;)
  3. Floo

    Floo Country Gent

    Dec 16, 2012
    Elmshorn, Germany
    ...and that's where the power soak kicks in. You can push the power amp valves and get an even fatter tone without bleeding ears!!!
    mitchmiami likes this.
  4. StJohn

    StJohn Country Gent

    Jun 5, 2008
    North Louisiana
    lest we forget, they've had 2 or guitarists in their lineup from the beginning, IIRC. Grohl makes great use of the AC30's ability to drive and retain note clarity.
  5. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    hey all well & good for people to talk about Queen, Brian May and AC30's :)
    I love em all but............

    The OP asked about Foo Fighters & AC30 in delivering their gain tones.
    I've tried to answer his question is all :)
    Henry likes this.
  6. b80_

    b80_ Electromatic

    Jun 21, 2018
    Mississippi, USA
    I've done some deep dives into the Foo's tones over the years. The specific record on which Dave used the AC30 was There Is Nothing Left To Lose. That record was only his Trini Lopez, an old Big Box Pro Co Rat, and the AC30. I believe this is the only album where he employed that tone.

    I owned an AC30 for a spell and loved the Foo tones I could get. Granted, I did also have an old Big Box Rat that really brought it home. I tried a few of the modern/current production RATs and they do not do the job, in my opinion.

    As others have said, the main trick it to get the volume way up on the amp! LOUD BABY!! Get it right to the edge of breakup and slam it with the RAT and you'll be there.

    Dave has moved on from that setup. He know uses Fender Tonemasters. Still has the Trini Lopez guitar on which his signature version is based.
    larryb likes this.
  7. Mr Swisher

    Mr Swisher Gretschie

    Jun 12, 2012
    It may not get you the Foos, but a Crowther Hotcake & a Vox is a beautiful combination.
    EchoTwang and Notscott like this.
  8. Chmason85

    Chmason85 Gretschie

    May 1, 2018
    I would check out the Electroharmonix "Glove." I use it with my AC15 twin sometimes and it definitely gives it full bore distortion with low noise and a great price. The mid boost switch is really nice too
  9. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
  10. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014

    hehe less $$ than Fender and Vox pay about 90% of the members here to pump their amps on every thread :)
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
  11. stiv

    stiv Synchromatic

    Sep 12, 2014
    Florence, Italy
    Dimed AC30 + '58 Les Paul Junior = best distorted song I've ever heard in my life. And it gets crispy clean with a roll of the volume knob.
    Btw, it was not on FF territory. :D
  12. larryb

    larryb Gretschified

    Oct 29, 2012
    Greenville, SC
    Dave uses Vox AC30s and Mesas....RAT pedals along with phases, delays etc...

    Dave's tones are more heavy, grinding OD, than overly saturated distortion.

    Starting with a clean amp like an AC30 is always a good platform. Crank the amp with any OD and add some textures via delay, phase and flange.....You will get close to his tone.

    Best of luck!
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
  13. larryb

    larryb Gretschified

    Oct 29, 2012
    Greenville, SC
    I can get the tones with either a Traynor or my current Kustom!
    No Fender,Mesa,Marshall or Vox necessary...:)
  14. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    ok let's put this to bed.
    Most of the links below are from thegearpage forum where working musicians get obsessed with nailing certain tones and study it to death. Some of these guys play in tribute bands also and are students of their bands.
    These are by far the best and most detailed sources imo

    The PO asked for Foo Fighters overdriven guitar tones - not Dave G's tone.
    He's one of 3 guitarists in the band and just a rhythm player.
    Chris Shiflet and Pat Smear are the 2 lead players.
    So Foo's tones are a combination of these 3 players.

    Then there's big differences in gear used between Foos recorded CDs and the concerts.
    And big differences again in gear used for clean tones and overdrive/distortion tones.
    And then big gear changes made during their long career.

    You'll see Vox AC was used by Dave in the studio in early years often combined with a Rat pedal for distortion.
    The other 2 guitarists used Mesa Lonestar's with Rats, Peavey 5150 and Mesa Dual Rectifiers.
    Then Dave switched to a Rectifier and has used Hiwatt also with distortion pedals.
    Marshall JCM900 was used at various times also.

    Here is Chris Shifletts pedal board in 2015

    Dave overdriven is mostly Rat pedal into AC30 in early years. Changes often after this.

    Pat Smear uses Peavey 5150 and Mesa Rectifiers mostly

    Guitars -
    Dave has used various Gibson live - DG-335, Explorers and Firebirds mostly

    Shiflet has his signature humbucker Tele which I own :)

    Shiflet also uses Les Pauls

    Smear uses various guitars - Hagstrom, LP, SGs, Fenders etc

    Lastly here's me doing a Foo Fighters cover using my Jet 6131 into a Mesa Express 5:50 amp.
    No pedals used. I could not have got this distortion tone with an AC30 unassisted :)
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
    b80_ and englishman like this.
  15. Bertotti

    Bertotti Country Gent

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
  16. rob batz

    rob batz Synchromatic

    Apr 17, 2014
    Bristol ct.
    Nocturn Brian billy brain pre amp pedal !!! Tried it thru the ac 15 and ac 30 both were great but I was fond of the ac 30 with the brain pedal , I loved , loved it !!
    Bertotti and TV the Wired Turtle like this.
  17. Howard hughes

    Howard hughes Synchromatic

    Mar 22, 2018
    this is one of the most underrated pedals ever! i love the overdrive channel a lot. i use it through a vox ac30 simulator and it works beautifully! ive used a lot of pedals but this is my fave because it has eq and frequency swooping capabilities. lg_31040-marshall-jh-1-jackhammer--large.jpg
  18. somebodyelseuk

    somebodyelseuk Country Gent

    Jan 22, 2013
    Birmingham, UK
    AC30s don't do distortion? Tell Brian May that.

    I vaguely remember back in the 90s Mesa did a pedal called the V Twin, which was basically a pre-amp with two 12AX7s (IIRC) in it. It was a bit pricey for a pedal, though considering the stupid money people pay for pedals today it was a bargain. Don't know if they still make it. You may find one on 'the auction' sites. They were highly regarde at the time.
    hcsterg likes this.
  19. larryb

    larryb Gretschified

    Oct 29, 2012
    Greenville, SC

    Some basic ways to get "Foo" tones......My point is that you can dial it in with basic gear...

    Best of luck and enjoy the search
    Waxhead and Bertotti like this.
  20. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    One of the best distortion/overdrive pedal ever made... With that, you should already be able to dial in heavy overdriven tones with your AC30 !

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